To take your shoes off or not to take your shoes off? that’s the question // Vyzúvať sa či nevyzúvať? To je otázka!

Once I got used to not kiss everyone I greet or wave off in Slovakia, another handicap came up: shoes. This is one of the main things that, in my southern mentality, stroke me of this country and a behavior I still have to remind myself I should do.

The first time I got into a Slovak flat, someone had to tell me to take my shoes off because, obviously, they were wet and full of dirt and any person in their right mind would like to have those things walking around their floors. What was my surprise when I discovered that this wasn’t only a common practice in here but also a matter of being polite.

Google images: http://www.elcomercio.es/noticias/ 201003/11/Media/huellas-madera--300x180.jpg

Google images: http://www.elcomercio.es/noticias/
201003/11/Media/huellas-madera–300×180.jpg

Back in my hometown, where the sun usually shines and rain (and let’s not talk about snow) is not that usual, one would never ever take off their shoes in someone else’s house without asking ahead, and only if you know the owner of that particular house very well. In fact, even if you would use slippers in your own home to be more comfortable, in the moment you receive a visit, you would put some shoes on. It was very shocking to realize that what it is consider ‘good manners’ in my city, it could be seen as a not particularly nice attitude in here.

Nonetheless,in this case , I must give the points to Slovakia… once you entered in the world of fluffy slippers and warm socks, you never want to go out. From now on, every time that the hamletian dilemma comes to my mind, I will know what to choose.

Irene.

///

Keď som si už konečne zvykla nebozkávať na líca všetkých ľudí, ktorým sa na Slovensku pozdravím alebo zakývam, objavil sa ďalší problém: topánky. V porovnaní s našou južanskou mentalitou ma zaskočilo, že na Slovensku sa na návštevách ľudia zvyknúť vyzúvať a neustále si to musím pripomínať.

Počas prvej návštevy slovenskej domácnosti ma museli upozorniť, aby som sa vyzula, pretože som mala topánky celé mokré a špinavé od blata. Žiadny normálny človek by si v takých topánkach po dome nechodil. Prekvapilo ma, že vyzuť sa je nielen bežné, ale dokonca je to prejav slušnosti.

V meste, z ktorého pochádzam, zvyčajne svieti slnko a dážď je nezvyčajným úkazom (o snehu ani nehovorím). Na návšteve by sme si topánky nikdy nevyzuli, jedine žeby sme domácich veľmi dobre poznali a spýtali sa ich na to vopred. Dokonca aj keď si doma obujeme papuče, aby sme sa cítili pohodlnejšie, akonáhle príde návšteva, obúvame si topánky. Šokovalo ma, že niečo, čo je doma podľa nás slušné, by Slováci za veľmi milé nepovažovali.

V tomto prípade sa však staviam na stranu Slovákov… keď si raz navlečiete teplé ponožky a obujete papuče, neviete si bez nich predstaviť život. Kedykoľvek stojím pred touto hamletovskou otázkou, už neváham.

Irene

Preklad: Stanislava Dengová, Jana Jašková

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3 thoughts on “To take your shoes off or not to take your shoes off? that’s the question // Vyzúvať sa či nevyzúvať? To je otázka!

  1. This is indeed an interesting cultural contradiction. Thank you for the points ! For me, it would be really really strange to put on shoes once we got visitor !

  2. An interesting question indeed. We work on the principle that shoes always come off when visiting and we usually take our slippers to change into. We are in the UK and live in an relatively affluent semi-rural area where taking shoes off is understandably the norm. And you are correct, the world of wearing soft comfy slippers is a welcoming place to be. My OH is Hungarian,which is another comfortable place where shoes come off at the door and slippers go on.

  3. Quite long ago I heard about some countries or regions (I think it was somewhere in France) where it would not be very unusual to go in shoes even to the bed. If you would do that here in Slovakia, you might make your flatmates really angry. Even to the point that they would start throwing their shoes at you 🙂

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